Student Guides


Student Guide Program

The Center is home to an active Student Guide Program, offering Yale undergraduates from all disciplines the opportunity to work closely with works of art and museum departments. Student guides meet weekly to learn about the Center’s collections, refine their touring skills, spend time in the Rare Books & Manuscripts and Prints & Drawings departments, take trips to area museums and galleries, and work on an annual student-curated Art in Focus exhibition.

Undergraduate student teaching painting to three other students

The Student Guide Program began in the fall of 2002, under the guidance of the Center’s Education department, with the aim of increasing the profile and use of the Center among Yale undergraduates. Guides develop additional programming based on their areas of interest. The program is run under the guidance of Linda Friedlaender, Senior Curator of Education, and Jaime Ursic, Assistant Curator of Education.

In 2015 and 2016, returning student guides researched and presented the exhibition Art in Focus: Relics of Old London and participated in the John F. O’Brien Acquisition Program. If you are interested in becoming a student guide, applications are now being accepted for the 2016–17 academic year. The closing date for applications is Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Apply today.

For additional questions, contact Education ( | +1 203 432 2858).

Follow the student guides on Facebook and Instagram.

Students with John O'Brien, photo by Beth Miller

John F. O’Brien Acquisition Program

As a longtime Friend of British Art, John O’Brien has established an endowment in support of arts education at the Center with the specific aim of increasing undergraduates’ appreciation of, and commitment to, the arts by involving them in the acquisition process. The fund will be used to support both the purchase of artworks for the Center and the students’ involvement in their acquisition, including research and travel.

The idea for this inspired gift came from O’Brien’s own experience as an undergraduate at Georgetown University. While in school, he began visiting galleries in Washington, DC, and gained considerable knowledge from the dealers beyond the classroom. This experience proved invaluable as he formed a significant collection of Japanese prints and Italian paintings. While history of art courses and student guide experiences afford undergraduates the opportunity to learn about various aspects of the collections, O’Brien recognized that the acquisition process might remain a mystery without this special opportunity of hands-on experience.

Art in Focus

Art in Focus, now in its ninth year, is an annual initiative for members of the Center’s Student Guide Program, providing curatorial experience and an introduction to all aspects of exhibition practice. In researching and presenting the exhibition, the students are mentored by Linda Friedlaender and Jaime Ursic. Previous student guide exhibitions include Art in Focus: Gazes Returned (2012), Art in Focus: St Ives Abstraction (2013), and Art in Focus: Wales (2014).

Art in Focus: Relics of Old London

May 11–August 14, 2016

Curated by Yale undergraduates in the Center’s Student Guide Program, this exhibition offers a glimpse of the lost architecture of preindustrial London, as captured in a series of carbon photo prints commissioned between 1875 and 1886 by the short-lived Society for Photographing the Relics of Old London. Intended as a permanent pictorial archive of buildings under threat of demolition, the photographs document old houses, medieval lanes, and derelict coaching inns alongside grander public buildings like churches and the Inns of Court. The exhibition explores both this antiquarian impulse to preserve remnants of the past in the face of rapid urban transformation and the role of photography in realizing new forms of public history and visual record. Focusing on the city’s built heritage rather than its shifting social fabric, Relics of Old London presents an idiosyncratic view of London’s history through its endangered architectural past.

The student curators for this exhibition were Rose Davis, BR ’18; Zoe Dobuler, TC ’17; Emily Feldstein, PC ’16 (Head of Art in Focus); Claire Goldsmith, ES ’18; Sergio Infante, CC ’18; Austin Johnson, PC ’16; Caroline Kanner, JE ’17; Anna Meixler, ES ’16; Nicholas Stewart, JE ’18; and Ari Zimmet, CC ’17.

Students making t-shirts that read, Keep Calm and ...

Art Club

Each semester the Student Guide Program hosts an Art Club social event at the Center for students from across the university. Student guides offer gallery tours, refreshments, and art-making that is inspired by a British artwork, artist, or theme.